Certified question

In the law of the United States, a certified question is a formal request by one court from another court, usually but not always in another jurisdiction, for an opinion on a question of law.

These cases typically arise when the court before which litigation is actually pending is required to decide a matter that turns on the law of another state or jurisdiction. If that other jurisdiction's law is unclear or uncertain, a certified question can then be sent to that jurisdiction's courts to render an opinion on the question of law that arose in the court in which the actual litigation is pending. The courts to whom these questions of law are certified are typically appellate courts or state supreme courts.[1]

In 1985, the New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York, was authorized by constitutional amendment to accept certified questions.
  1. ^ Black's Law Dictionary, 6th ed., "Certification of question of state law"

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